Whether navigating rush-hour traffic, negotiating with a stubborn toddler or nearing a deadline at work, we’ve all remarked that stressful situations are enough to send our blood pressure soaring. However, while physicians believe that stress does play a part in our overall health, it has not been proven to cause high blood pressure. The truth is, the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly.
According to the American Heart Association, most people don’t notice any signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, also called hypertension, until blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. For this reason, it is often called the “silent killer.” Affecting approximately 1 in 3 adults in the U.S., it occurs when your blood pressure — the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries — stays high for a long time instead of rising and falling throughout the day. Because high blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and heart disease, two of the leading causes of death in the U.S., it is important to keep it checked and follow your doctor’s advice if you need treatment.
Some people believe that headaches, symptomatic nosebleeds, facial flushing or dizziness are signs that a person has high blood pressure. However, while these symptoms can be indirectly related, they are not always caused by high blood pressure. Obvious symptoms typically occur only when blood pressure levels are high enough to cause hypertensive crisis, which requires emergency treatment.
High blood pressure can be a serious condition; however, you can take steps to control it by doing the following:
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Limit alcohol use
- Don’t smoke
- Prevent or manage diabetes
- Follow your doctor’s plan for treatment
Find your risk for stroke or heart attack by taking a health risk assessment at www.FindYourHealth.com